On Tuesday early morning a devastating thing occurred for the Colorado State University equine science community, our world renown facility here at Colorado State caught fire. At about 1 am there were 20 foot flames being sighted through the main building of the Equine Reproduction Lab in Fort Collins.
First I think people need a little clarification about the ERL. The equine repro program receives horses from all over the world for breeding and other related services, literally I have met horses from far and wide countries. The entire program largely supports itself because of how well known it is…. it receives surprisingly little funding from the over lying university but it has an incredible program behind it. Even I, who is not a repro guru, can appreciate this program because of how awesome it is.
Back to the ERL, the fire had already done enough damage by the time it was spotted that apperently all the firefighters could do was contain it. The horses in the nearby barns were in no danger, but they were quite disturbed by the blaze so firefighters and the interns moved them, and then had to move some others to the near by equine science barn, but were moved back the next day.
Currently, two days later, there is no identified cause of the fire, but because of the initial estimated damage (between 12 and 15 million dollars) the FBI is investigating to identify the source. The ERL is attempting to utilize their other facilities and is attempting to do ‘business as usual.’ They do have other locations to carry on inseminations etc. therefore they are continuing to try to move on.
To explain the actual building that burned, it was the offices, including the vet offices, the front reception area and the main laboratories. This building housed thousands of dollars worth of semen, millions of dollars of equipment, and priceless data and research. The program plans to host their usual classes this coming semester, although I am sure it will be slightly altered from the usual.
Because of the seriousness of the fire, I have personally not been able to look at the damage, but I am hoping to get out there tomorrow and be able to report firsthand from onsite, and maybe get some pictures. I do trust that the horses are getting the best of care despite the circumstances, and I believe that this amazing facility will rebuild and I am sure the building to replace this one will be absolutely incredible. It is just so sad to hear and I am sure the faculty and vets who have dedicated their life to this program are just devastated, but as usual…. things will work out and I am lookingforward to seeing it rise from the ashes.
Here is the news story, if you are interested. It has arial footage: